Monitor and evaluate risks and results

  • • Prioritise approaches to monitoring and evaluating the results - and risks - of accountability. An accountability systems approach should make it easier to assess the wider context and the enabling environment for accountability reforms. This can help develop more realistic theories of change, which consider the incentives and relationships between actors - and thus ensure that project and programme objectives will be more realistic and easier to measure. However, much greater evidence is needed, as are new tools to better measure, monitor and manage political risks and to better capture results in this area.
  • • In reality, many providers of assistance to domestic accountability are likely to continue to channel separate funding lines to particular groups, organisations and institutions of accountability. Specific sets of principles for supporting parliaments, political parties, the media and electoral processes are contained in Part II to guide donors in achieving more effective, and more politically aware, programming in these areas. These principles make clear that the design of support to any of these organisations or processes must: 1) start with an assessment of the wider system or context; and 2) take care to consider the implications of support for one actor for other actors or institutions within that system.

Box 5.1. Core recommendations for programme design, implementation and evaluation Programme design:

  • • Draw on available context analysis (and where not available, consider commissioning analysis) as well as evaluations.
  • • Consider joint donor analysis or funding arrangements to develop shared understandings of the accountability system, and use this to avoid fragmented effort.
  • • Map formal and informal actors, institutions and processes which shape accountability. Understand the relationship among these actors and systems and draw on this as a basis for designing support programmes.

Programme implementation:

  • • An accountability systems approach means thorough analysis of the whole accountability system, and then targeted support to address particular weaknesses or gaps.
  • • Provide support in ways which build relationships, bring together coalitions and support dynamic change processes. This may require different ways of working, including brokering, facilitating and supporting local reform processes.
  • • Consider working with unconventional actors - such as the private sector, political parties, trade unions and others - as well as on new issues (taxation).
  • • Ensure greater transparency over how aid is given, integrate aid into partner country accountability systems and improve aid management in the field.

Programme monitoring and evaluation:

  • • Develop a theory of change for each intervention, underpinned by realities, which makes explicit assumptions about how and for whom a programme is intended to work.
  • • Reassess these assumptions at milestones throughout the programme and revise them where needed.
  • • Build in assessments of the wider context and risk management throughout the programme cycle (for monitoring and evaluation).
  • • Combine evaluation methods to capture medium-term and longer outcomes.
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